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Veterans Day

Posted by Jolly on November 11, 2013

Armistice, Veterans, and Remembrance Day



This November 11th marks the 90th anniversary of Armistice Day for the War to end all Wars---or so we thought anyway.  The armistice was signed on the 11th hour of 11th day of the 11th month.  The date has been a national holiday in many of the allied nations to allow people to commemorate those who made the ultimate sacrifice during the war.  In 1954, it was officially changed to Veterans Day in the United States.   In England, it was changed to Remembrance Day after WW II.  Armistice Day is still the official holiday for both France and Belgium.

In many parts of the world people would take a two minute moment of silence at 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month as a sign of respect for the roughly eight million who died during the WW I.  Beginning in 1939 the two-minute silence was moved to the Sunday nearest 11 November in order not to interfere with wartime production.  Since the 1990s a growing number of people have observed a two-minute silence on 11 November for both Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday in Europe
 

No matter what the day is called, it’s a time for all of us to reflect on all the sacrifices made by veterans so that we may live in freedom.


Veterans like Joseph Ambrose, an 86-year-old World War I veteran who is pictured here attending the dedication day parade for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in 1982, holding the flag that covered the casket of his son, who had been killed in the Korean War.

Veterans Day is about men like Major Thomas Howie, the “Major of St. Lo.”  He’s graduated from The Citadel (my alma mata) in 1929, was a star halfback on the football team, and became an English teacher before entering the Army in WW II.  He was commander of the 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry regiment, 24th Infantry Division, during the D-Day invasion.  Major Howie was tasked with rescuing 2nd Battalion which was pinned down outside the town of St. Lo.  After successfully relieving 2nd Battalion with just hand grenades and bayonets, he led his battalion on an attack to take the town of St. Lo.  He was quoted as saying to the division commander “see you in St. Lo.”  Unfortunately he was killed during the attack, but he was the first American to enter the town of St. Lo.  The division commander had his body covered with old glory and placed him on the hood of the first jeep driving into the town as the liberator of St Lo. 

The town of Saint-Lo erected a monument to Howie In 1956.  Howie was posthumously awarded the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and the French Legion of Honor.  It has often been speculated that the character of Captain John Miller in the film Saving Private Ryan, was loosely based on Howie in the sense that both men had parallel personality traits as well as the fact that both men taught high school English and were baseball coaches. Stephen Ambrose hinted at this during several interviews with casting.  

November 11th is also about guys like my Dad (pictured on the right), a WW II veteran.  I grew up listening to his War stories as a kid.  One of the stories I remember most took place during the battle of the Leyte Gulf in the Philippines.  He was forced to ditch a B-25 off shore right in the middle of a huge amphibious assault.  The bad news was they had to ditch, the good news was there were plenty of boats around to render an immediate rescue for him and his crew.  As he grabbed the hand of a Navy amphip driver and was pulled to safety he heard the guy say, “hey Paul, how you doing?”  The guy lending a helping hand to my dad was a classmate from Port Richmond High School in Staten Island, New York.  They were brought together for a reunion of sorts in the middle of the Pacific Ocean during WW II.  As my dad would say, it's a small world.  

This Veterans, Armistice, or Remembrance Day take two minutes of your time to reflect on what's been given to so many of us thanks to the sacrafices of our veterans.  Then stick your hand out and grab the hand of a patriot who served your nation in the past or one who is currently serving in uniform and thank them.  You just never know, it may be someone you have a lot in common with.  We need to especially take time out to thank our WW II vets, they are leaving us by the thousands each month.  Don't miss the opportunity to say thanks to this group of true heroes before they fly west, trust me they will appreciate it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments:

Posted by butch71 on
I for one say Thank You to all veterans Past, Present,and future.
SSG USA (RET)
"HOOAH"!
Posted by DJ1 on
A very nice and appropriate piece, especially your salute to your father! As you are proud of him, I'm sure he is proud of you as well.
I lift my glass to all those who have gone in harms way for our country with special thanks to the Doolittle Raiders and The American Volunteer Group ("Flying Tigers") who first "took it to 'em!" in WWII.
God Bless America!
Don Joyce
Sgt & LtCol, USAF (ret)
Posted by DJ1 on
A very nice and appropriate piece, especially your salute to your father! As you are proud of him, I'm sure he is proud of you as well.
I lift my glass to all those who have gone in harms way for our country with special thanks to the Doolittle Raiders and The American Volunteer Group ("Flying Tigers") who first "took it to 'em!" in WWII.
God Bless America!
Don Joyce
Sgt & LtCol, USAF (ret)
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